In a different life, I’d still know her. We would have gone to Kindergarten together, had the run of the neighborhood when we were old enough, Andrew Jackson High School; maybe Queens college.
I started off with a picket fence, little brick house, type of existence. The picture was from 1961…the fifties really, because the fifties didn’t end until Kennedy was shot. It was still a post war American exceptionalism type of world. There was no question of America’s greatness. The evidence was all around us, working class folks, all owning beautiful little homes with beautiful little lawns in a beautiful little neighborhood in the greatest city on earth. Vietnam had not yet taken the piss out of us as the Brits like to say. There was a lot of piss to take out. Still is.
Ours could have been any neighborhood in any Norman Rockwell inspired movie. Boy played by Jimmy Stewart. Girl played by June Allyson. Fetchingly normal…all in our little ecosystem within the larger confines of the great city that was the capital of the western world. In that movie, she was the girl next door.
I have several old family pictures of us together…the adults thought we were adorable. She must have some too. I wonder if her life stayed together better than mine…I hope so. If not, I hope it came back together like mine. I can’t say I miss her…I can barely remember. But I miss the idea of her. I wonder if she misses the idea of me.